Separation, divorce or the breakdown of a relationship for an unmarried couple all have the potential to cause considerable distress for any children involved. At Haygarth Jones, we understand how distressing it can be when disputes over the arrangements for children arise especially during a challenging divorce. Our team of family solicitors will help you obtain a legally binding child arrangement order for your children.


Our family solicitors are dedicated to advising their clients on the options available to them as parents and help resolve any issues in relation to custody and living arrangements of their children. 


Social Services involvement with a family can be a difficult and uncertain time, especially if there is a suggestion that the child or children may be removed from the parents care. 

Our solicitors can provide legal advice and representation at any stage during Social Services involvement, including initial enquiries, child protection conferences, pre-proceedings meetings or court proceedings. 

We have a strong reputation for fighting for our clients and achieving successful outcomes. We will guide you through this difficult and frightening time with compassion while offering practical advice. 


Legal Aid remains available for public law proceedings and care proceedings where the Local Authority are involved in relation to matters concerning children.


Any legal aid application made in respect of these proceedings are both non-means and non-merits tested. Therefore, you will be eligible for legal aid regardless of your financial circumstances and provided you are the child/children's parent. 

If you need advice in relation to public law proceedings or care proceedings then contact our Family Department on 01744 757877 or email at


If you are notified that Social Services are to issue care proceedings in respect of your child or children then you must contact us immediately. 

Proceedings are usually issued when Social Services believe a child or children is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm. They will ask the court to decide whether your child or children require a legal order to protect them from harm.

The first step will involve an initial court hearing, however, before that the Local Authority will send papers to the court which sets out why they are concerned for the child's safety. You will receive a copy of those papers, though we can accept service on your behalf meaning the papers will be sent to us.

After the initial hearing, the court will make a number of directions including whether an Interim Care or Supervision Order should be made, where the child or children should reside until the final hearing and also the level of contact you should have. 

  • Pre-proceedings Meetings

  • Interim Care Order

  • Care Order

  • Supervision Order

  • Emergency Protection Order

  • Special Guardianship Order

  • Placement Orders

  • Child Arrangements Orders

  • Initial Child Protection Case Conference

  • Child Protection Review Conferences

Separation, divorce or the breakdown of a relationship for an unmarried couple all have the potential to cause considerable distress for any children involved. Wherever possible we help negotiate arrangements that not only meet the needs of the children but also provide both parents with the means to adjust to their new situation, without undue disturbance.


If agreement cannot be reached we can help with preparations to assist the court with any orders that are made. These can cover residence orders, contact orders and prohibited steps orders (which encompass restrictions on a child being removed from their country of residence).

We also deal with parental responsibility for both married and unmarried couples. In the case of married couples, both parents have responsibility of their children whereas with unmarried couples, only the mother has parental responsibility. However, if the father is named on the child's birth certificate and the child was born after December 2003, the father can obtain parental responsibility. 

  • The children must come first. What is most convenient for the children (i.e. distance from school. It may not be convenient for the children to move far away from their school and travel a long journey).

  • Which parent has more free time to look after the children and spend quality time with them, and on what days. 

  • How circumstances may change in the future.



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